The post-breakup smackdown

Joey Garcia

Two guys are in love with me, and I don’t know how to deal with it. One is my ex-boyfriend. I love him, always have and always will. He broke up with me, and it took a long time to get over it. The other guy and I have been dating for four months. He is a really good person, and if I wasn’t in love with my ex-boyfriend, I know I could love him, but my heart just won’t go there. I need to tell the guy that I am seeing that I don’t love him, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings.

When Bachelor No. 1 broke up with you, did it hurt your feelings? I bet it did. I bet you cried, stalked him on Instagram, watched The Notebook too many times and wasted countless daylight hours sleeping. Or maybe you couldn’t sleep and lay awake obsessing over what went wrong and how to fix it. I bet you ate too much or not enough. Like most people after a bad breakup, you probably swung between the extremes, bouncing between anger and deep sadness, convinced you had to get him back. Then one day, you discovered a new experience: boredom. You were bored with feeling blue. You let go of being a victim by accepting that most relationships change, often in ways we don’t expect. Yes, this means that although we never want to inflict pain on purpose, suffering can lead us to mature in ways we have been avoiding.

Bachelor No. 2 arrives. His attention and affection are signs that you should fall for him. Or, at least, that’s what you tell yourself in order to smack down doubts. But when doubts arise in a situation like yours, don’t overpower those concerns. Slow down. Carve out time in your personal schedule to be alone and really consider what you desire. Ask yourself if the relationship brings out the best in you. Shake out the usual relationship fears that arise from insecurity. Dig deep to determine the message your mind and heart are sending you.

You didn’t share an important part of your story: Why your ex-boyfriend broke up with you. And, while it doesn’t sound like you were on a rebound with the new guy, your ex might be on that cycle. Consider it this way: You’re with someone new who is into you, and now your ex wants you back. My final two words: Go slow.

My parents died leaving a substantial inheritance for my siblings and me. My brother invested his share, my younger sister used hers to pay off her college loans and purchase a home. I paid off my home and bought rental property. My oldest sister, a writer, lived fancy, and all of her money was gone within a year. Now she is asking each one of us to help her out financially. She never went to college, never saved money, never got a decent job and has supported a succession of unemployed boyfriends. None of us want to give her money. Isn’t it better for her to learn the hard way that she has to take care of herself?

Your sister can’t take care of herself until she learns how to handle finances. It’s a humbling lesson to sit and shift through bills and income to get a realistic picture of the bottom line. If you or a sibling is unwilling to educate her, another handout is not the solution. Offer to pay tuition so she can take a personal-finance class at a community college or online. A healthy relationship with money can empower her toward smarter choices in every area of her life, including love.

Meditation of the week
“Whenever anger comes, take out a mirror and look at yourself. When you are angry, you are not very beautiful,” says Thich Nhat Hanh, a Mahayana Buddhist monk and author. Just thinking of this simple truth makes me laugh. How do you tame your temper?

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